(NBC News) — A Louisiana man walked free free after spending nearly three decades behind bars for a rape the victim herself has long insisted he did not commit, authorities said.

Patrick Brown had been convicted of aggravated rape in 1994 in a case involving his 6-year-old stepdaughter, Orleans Parish prosecutors said.

But the girl never testified, and Brown’s conviction was based on adults testifying “to what they believed she had said,” according to a statement from the Orleans Parish District Attorney.

The now-adult woman “has remained steadfast for over 20 years” that Brown is innocent “and the evidence corroborated the victim’s account,” the district attorney said.

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